Citroen Junior Team driver Sebastien Ogier has admitted he expects his debut on Rally New Zealand to be a big challenge given his lack of experience of the North Island roads.
The Auckland-based event will mark Ogier's 25th World Rally Championship start, spanning 19 countries, since his debut in the sport in Mexico 2008. The highly cambered and gravelly roads on Rally New Zealand have traditionally marked the event out as one of the more demanding for a rookie.
"I'm expecting it to be a more difficult rally for us than Turkey, as we are discovering an event that the other drivers already know well," said Ogier. "But I really can't wait to get started, as the stages in New Zealand are some of the best in the world. It will be a really nice opportunity for me to drive the Citroen C4 WRC on fast and flowing stages."
Citroen team principal Olivier Quesnel is delighted with what he has seen from the former Junior World Rally champion this season.
"In each rally we've been surprised by Sebastien Ogier's continually improving performances," said Quesnel. "He just gets on with the job, listens, learns and progresses in each rally. It won't be long before he scores his first victory."
Ogier arrives in the southern hemisphere having posted 12 fastest times in this year's series so far. Only Sebastien Loeb and Petter Solberg have collected more scratch times.
Citroen Junior will only run Ogier on this rally, as it is not part of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen's scheduled program.